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Gaia Sciences Innovation receives £66.3M to curb biodiversity loss and climate change

Managing Partner at Greensphere Capital
Picture credits: Greensphere Capital

UK-based specialist fund manager Greensphere Capital has received £66.3 million backing for Gaia Sciences Innovation, the first fund looking to commercialise nature and climate research. This is a part of its target of £100 million.

Notably, this fundraise is split into a commitment of up to £50 million from the UK Infrastructure Bank alongside a £15 million investment from Frank Mars, a board member of the family-owned food giant Mars, and £1.3 million from Greensphere.  

Funds utilisation

The funding will be deployed to invest in startup, spin-out, and scaleup businesses linked to these institutions, providing products and services that can help tackle biodiversity loss and climate change. These companies will be based across the UK, with a particular focus on regional research hubs such as York and Norwich. 

The UK Infrastructure Bank’s investment in Gaia Sciences Innovation will enable a greater range of businesses focused on developing activities to support natural capital investments to benefit from its financing. This is in line with the former’s mission to help the transition to net zero and boost regional growth and aligns with the British Chancellor’s recent strategic steer to the institution to support nature-based solutions. 

In addition to this, Frank Mars will also step into a role as chair of the advisory committee for Gaia Sciences Innovation.

First-of-its-kind fund

Gaia Sciences Innovation is a first-of-its-kind fund to create and scale businesses commercialising research and innovation from leading British bioscience and environmental science institutes. It helps to unlock the commercial potential of cutting-edge UK research to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.

It focuses on three focus areas – green real assets (agriculture and forestry), green fintech, and human supply-chain resilience (from food to medicine). 

The fund will focus on the efforts of 4,000 scientists, researchers and conservationists across institutions, including the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew,  ZSL, University of York, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and the Anglia Innovation Partnership, where partners include the Earlham Institute, John Innes Centre, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Quadram Institute, The Sainsbury Laboratory, and the University of East Anglia.  

Divya Seshamani, Managing Partner of Greensphere Capital, said: “We are delighted by the calibre of the investors supporting the Gaia Sciences Innovation fund – our team at Greensphere has worked hard to get here since the announcement of the fund launch in November 2023. As always, our primary objective is to create value for our investors and partner institutes. We are honoured to work with some of the most knowledgeable investors in the market like the UK Infrastructure Bank and Mars family, who are aligned with our values of people, planet and profit. We are also humbled to have a values-aligned, science-led leader in bioscience and AgTech investments like Frank Mars join our advisory committee as chair.” 

John Flint, CEO of the UK Infrastructure Bank, said:“Natural capital has the potential to play a significant role in the path to net zero, but we need to scale investment in this sector if it is going to deliver on its promise in the UK. This deal will help.” 

Frank Mars, Chair of the Limited Partner Advisory Committee of Gaia Sciences Innovation, said: “The Greensphere team, Gaia Sciences Innovation structure and the Gaia Sciences Innovation fund are providing exactly the sort of collaborative solutions the world needs, combining bioscience innovation with systems thinking to ensure we can leave future generations with a healthy planet and a thriving economy.“

Gareth Davies MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury said: “This deal marks another step in the transition, while also driving economic growth. It goes beyond environmental improvement; it’s about creating jobs, boosting regional growth and fostering new businesses, reinforcing our nation’s position as a leader in green tech.”

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